CHESTERFIELD, Va. --Scenes of a segregated deep south are the backdrop of Bishop Gerald O. Glenn’s many memories.
He remembers vividly his inner struggles at the height of the civil rights movement and where he was 50 years ago on the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
These days the prominent Richmond pastor reflects on how those experiences shaped him, and even admits that in his early years his views didn`t always align with the teachings of Dr. King.
“So, it took me a while to see the validity of this nonviolence piece because as I told you, I lived through some very difficult times,” Bishop Glenn said. “I got assaulted and beaten up by white kids, so for me it wasn`t peace and love and kumbaya.”
He recalled driving down Interstate 85 to North Carolina, and the sign that said “Welcome, this is Klan Country.”
Through the years Bishop Glenn`s faith and life experiences ultimately steered him to the path that Dr. King took.
“Those things left scars in my mind and it took some time for me to see maybe what Dr. King is preaching may be a viable alternative,” Glenn said.
Inside his New Deliverance Evangelistic Church, a corner bears a tribute to Dr. King, right next to old segregation signs.
Today it`s a mission of Bishop Glenn`s to make sure the younger generation understands how this part of history impacted America.
He`s been able to do that by taking hundreds of kids on an emotional tour of the south, stopping in places like Birmingham, Montgomery and Selma and along the way highlighting the work of Dr. King and other civil rights icons.
Bishop Glenn hopes this message will resonate with our youth on this 50th anniversary, a grim reminder of how our world lost a giant.
“It was important for me to let young people now that we didn`t get here by chance, there was a price paid and if we don`t tell it, who will?” he said.